As promised, "California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday for denying its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs." At least fifteen states will support California in the lawsuit, "including 13 of those that have either adopted or are in the process of adopting the rules." As Jeremy Elton pointed out in his December 20 post, all told, these states represent roughly half of the U.S. population, "flying in the face of [EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson's] 'patchwork of state rules' argument" in defense of his decision to deny the waiver.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown explained to the AP the reasoning behind the lawsuit thusly: "there's absolutely no justification for the administrator's action. . ."It's illegal. It's unconscionable and a gross dereliction of duty." He's not the only one concerned about the legality of the EPA's decision. According to Wired Science, "the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by California democrat Henry Waxman. . .has launched an investigation" into why Administrator Johnson apparently ignored the recommendations of his own advisors.It is well known that "automakers lobbied the White House for months before Johnson's decision, and met privately with Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss California's law," but many are optimistic that the EPA's decision will be overturned, either by the courts or after an internal review. This is especially likely given the House investigation into the matter, the EPA vs. Mass Supreme Court, and California Federal Court, cases last year, as well as the sheer force of public support for efficiency measures.
If overturned, the California rule could "signal the end of the Bush administration's resistance to public demands for stronger climate change policies," and force automakers to build vehicles that exceed the recently raised CAFE standard. Regardless of the outcome, the public outcry, as well as the strong responses by 15 states and Congress, bode well for future climate policy, and virtually guarantee that the EPA's attempt to stymie more aggressive mitigation measures will backfire.